Air Transat says it will temporarily lay off its cabin crews and pilots starting Feb. 11, and will begin repatriating customers to Canada, in the wake of new travel restrictions.
The move comes in response to new federal travel restrictions to Mexican and Caribbean destinations that start Sunday and are set to end on April 30.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday Canada’s main airlines are suspending service to the popular destinations and travellers returning from abroad would face strict new quarantine measures.
Transat A.T. Inc. said in a press release in response to the federal restrictions that it would be suspending all of its Air Transat flights until April 30, and would begin repatriating its customers over the next two weeks.
„We are putting in place the measures requested by the Canadian government, including not travelling to the south,“ president and CEO of Air Transat Jean-Marc Eustache said, adding that flights to Europe are also being temporarily suspended as part of the measures.
Air Transat said it will operate dozens of flights over the coming weeks to return customers to Canada. Passengers set to fly home from now to Feb. 13 will keep their original flight, while customers whose flights are cancelled will automatically be redirected to another Air Transat flight, the airline said.
„We will do everything we can to return our customers back to Canada,“ Eustache said in the release.
The airline said it would also issue refunds to customers whose flights are cancelled as part of the new restrictions.
Trudeau said Friday the restrictions are aimed at discouraging travel and reducing the spread of more infectious variants of COVID-19. Returning Canadians will now have to quarantine in an approved hotel for three days at their own expense while they await results of a COVID-19 test taken at the airport.
Those with negative test results will be able to quarantine for the rest of the mandatory two weeks at home, while those with positive tests will isolate in designated government facilities.